Saturday 14 April 2012

Waterpark: 7 reasons to say "no"

There is not much that I can add to the conversation that hasn't already been said, but in the spirit of blogger solidarity, here are 7 reasons to say "no" to the water park proposal:

1) The $7 million belongs to rapid transit. When Sam cancelled the planned BRT shortly after coming into office, he diverted this cash to one thing then another, but it was originally intended for rapid transit. Now that BRT is back on, the money is needed. The first phase that recently opened is virtually useless on it's own. Most people I've talked to say that it takes them longer to get to where they're going because the bus routes now all have to detour down Main Street to get to the start of the 3.6km BRT corridor, whereas before they took a more direct route. The BRT needs to be extended to the UofM and new football stadium ASAP. This $7 million will help.

2) Unfortunate juxtiposition: As Policy Frog puts it: "(The CMHR) has drawn comparisons to iconic architecture in cities like Bilbao, Spain and Sydney, Australia. Right across the street, the City wants a budget-hotellier from Alberta to build a moderate-sized water park, so we can compete with destinations like Grand Forks, Steinbach and Portage La Prairie." In both architecture and function the proposed hotel/waterpark will be completely contrary to the museum.

3) The proposal is an underutilization of a prime piece of real estate. The limited land at The Forks is valuable, and this particular area, "Parcel 4", is a high-visibility location. There should be a master plan for the development (or reclaimation as greenspace) of the remaining undeveloped areas of The Forks, but lacking that, at the very least the City should solicit expressions of interest for any area they're considering developing, with consideration of what would be the best fit. There was no such process in this case. For more related thoughts see Stumbling (A) Bordeaux.

4) This may very well be the site of an ancient Indian burial ground. I'm not kidding. Now I'm not saying this will happen, but there is a very good chance that when you jump in that wave pool, an angry ghost will grab your ankles and pull you under.

5) Conflict of interest: Make no mistake: this waterpark is Sam Katz's baby. He's the one pushing for this. The public is not clamourring for it. Council is not demanding it. It's Sam's baby, and this baby is being born directly across the street from Sam's ballpark and restaurant, very likely resulting is some positive spin-offs for Sam himself. Even if it's not technically a conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict is certainly there. See also Bart Kives.

6) It seems sometimes as though every major decision by Winnipeg City Council is made in a rush with insufficient information and improper due dilligence. (An exception being rapid transit, where study after study is done without any decision being made.) What is the final design going to look like? What caveats are included with the free passes that will be given to low income people? We don't know these things. This habit of circumventing process and approving proposals without proper consideration needs to be put to a stop. On a matter of principle this development should be stopped.

7) There are much better uses for this money, than to give it to a private developer for a run-of-the-mill waterpark. Even if it doesn't go to rapid transit, it could go to community centres, or roads, or to our unglamourous but aging storm sewers, or to any number of worthy causes. If there is demand for a waterpark, it WILL get built with or without public money. If anything, this stupid $7 million bribe with it's attached conditions may have prevented a waterpark from being built by now.

Those are 7 reasons to say "no" to the waterpark deal. Pick one or pick all seven, or make up your own; but don't just say "no" in your head. Say "no" to the mayor and your councillor. Here are their email addresses:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

To allow this to happen, as One Man Committee puts it, "would be a regrettable mistake and a civic embarrassment of the highest order."

Cherenkov, with files from Walt Krawec, Bryan Scott, Patrick Oystryk, Colin Fast, Rob Galston, and RM at Winnipeg ...One Great City.

X-ref: as published in the Free Press


bwalzer said...

Isn't the waterpark really just a distraction from the fact that we would end up with two hotels at the forks?

That's two more than the optimal number I think...

Don't we have a summertime water park already called Fun Mountain? There used to be another one at Lockport but it closed down. If these things are not all that popular in the summer I can't imagine that there would be a huge interest in an indoor version (particulary in the summer).

cherenkov said...

I think the Inn at the Forks was a good addition, but a low-budget off-the-freeway type of hotel would be out of place IMO.

Anonymouse said...

Why not just build a waterpark in the empty shell of the CHMR? Two birds, one stone.

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